“White Gold” (salt) was extracted for four thousand years near Hallein and this is what gave the region and the capital of the province its name. In 1989 the salt works were closed down. Various influential people involved in cultural life took the initiative to have the brine hall on the island in the middle of the River Salzach transformed into a theatre which is now used regularly by the Salzburg Festival. The conversion work in 1992 needed only an 80-day building period; six years later, new, more elaborate seating arrangements were installed as well as an interval area.
The hall is especially suitable for experimental theatre and concerts of contemporary music whereby the performance and audience areas can be adapted to the scenic concept of the production in question. In 1999 the marathon performances entitled Schlachten!, Luc Perceval’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s history plays, on the Perner Island achieved cult status.